22 August 2013

I Want to Be a Blogger

It's true, I'll admit it. I really want to be a blogger.

 A blogger could wear a shirt probably meant for children with red and blue cars printed all over it, couldn't she?

Don't misunderstand. I don't mean by that that I want to grow my hair long so I can wear a topknot, or that I want to drink Starbucks (coffee? Eww!), or that I want to shop at J. Crew or or do any of the things it's often said that the stereotypical blogger does.

I want to be a blogger in that I want to blog seriously. What I've learned from the past year since beginning my involvement in the world of online self-publishing is that I really, really like blogging. I love opening up my laptop every day. I like coming up with blog post ideas out of the random things that happen in life, and I enjoy having a reason to write constantly. I get excited about sharing my perspective with the world and encouraging others that it's a good thing to be a little different and to live outside of the box. I'm a writer. I've always loved writing, but this last year's experience has simply been a confirmation to me that writing is really my passion in life. Sure, I'm just another impractical dreamer who wants to have a career doing what they love, but I'm an impractical dreamer who's serious about it, who's willing to invest the time it takes.

What I've seen in blogging for the last year is that blogging can be a career. People do make incomes off of their blog, people do get book deals and speaking engagements and start writing careers by first building a blog audience. That doesn't happen to every blogger, of course, not even to the vast majority of bloggers, but it does happen.

I desire to have a writing career. Now don't worry, friends, my blog will never turn into one big online advertisement. I think writing is too much fun for me to ever think I'd want to "waste" all of my blog posts by only writing sponsored content, or that I'd hire someone to write for me. Boring! This doesn't mean I wouldn't post any sponsored content, but any posts about brands will be accompanied by a plethora of uniquely Rachelish writings, I assure you. Also, I honestly don't think constantly hosting blog hops and giveaways is the best way to build a readership, and I would be sad to see my blog turned into one hosted blog hop after another, so I won't be going that route, either.

I do want to turn this little hobby of mine into a career, but I know I'm not able to do it alone. I may love writing, and I may think my own writing is hilarious and insightful and a joy to behold...but I don't really count as a worthwhile "audience", just as one person who's obviously biased. I need your help, in a few different ways:

1. Each of you have your own networks, and I believe personal recommendation is a powerful thing. My sister recommends books and I read them, my brother recommends Youtube videos and I watch them. If you like my writing, if you don't think that my dream is utterly crazy, and you want to be part of helping me out on the road to accomplishing what I'd love to do, tell a friend who reads blogs about a funny one she should know about. I'd be thrilled if you guys would tell your friends about me, or write a facebook post, or tweet a link to a post of mine that you especially enjoyed, or even mention The Random Writings on your blog. You guys can do more to promote my blog to people who actually might read and enjoy it than I ever could, and I'd be ever so grateful if you would use your influence for the cause of helping me get serious about building a reader base and pursue this as a career.

2. Technologically, I really don't know what's the best use of my time as far as aspects of blogging besides writing blog posts. Writing blog posts is 100% my favorite part, but I realize that more than just writing needs to happen. You all have different areas of expertise. Blog designers, be honest--is my blog design going to turn away readers? Is it worth investing in a better one? Bloggers who already have experience with brand partnerships and making a few dollars in this business--how do you get started? What networks should/could I join? When should I approach a brand and when should I wait for them to approach me? How do I continue to build a readership while working on improving aspects of blogging besides content alone? Photographers--What could I do to make my photos more visually appealing? To the general reader of this blog--What's good here, and what's bad? What do you think I should do more of...and what do you skip over? What topics should I write about? Do you like the serious stuff better or the silly stuff better? What ideas would you want to hear my perspective on?

Thank you, every one of you, for reading. I'm really looking forward to your advice on how to pursue this goal of mine. I know I don't have nearly all the answers, but I have a feeling that with a bit of teamwork, we can at least come up with a good supply of info on the intricate workings of this industry that I'd love to enter.

So, yeah, I may sound a little crazy right now, but hey, who knows? Maybe a few years down the road, you'll be able to say, "I read Rachel G. before she was cool."

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Marli said...

you go girl! you can do it. :)


Veronica Lee Burns said...

I love "Rachelish" writing! :)

deanna@delirious-rhapsody said...

i wonder if i will ever be a 'real' blogger just because once i'm done with my computer for the day, i'm done. i don't tweet all day. i don't have a facebook account for my blog. i don't spend endless hours of my time networking.

but i do love blogging. and i am constantly thinking of new topics. i love writing. so my blog will always be there, but probably not to a professional degree. :)

Esther said...

Hi Rachel,

Just wanted to say, you're one of my favourite blogs to read! Always so refreshing & interesting! It's always great to actually read a blog that isn't overtaken by giveaways and such, and you certainly capture the audience with your engaging, fun and witty writing.

Thanks, and I'm sure to pass the word around!


Monica: Jersey Girl, Texan Heart said...

Hey love your blog! I'm following you :)

I love this post. I would love for this whole blogging thing to happen for me either. I see so many great bloggers out there and so many people with stories. These (like you) are real people, sometimes it gets boring hearing about the same old celebrities or about just like the previous comment says about giveaways and what not. It's like us bloggers who write our stories, we are sharing our diary with the world and my motto is that if I can make at least one person smile with a story or with just telling them how great they are then I feel accomplished.

I want to read about real people who are happy or who are happy due to struggles they've endured or even just about what they do everyday because we are all different and I also like meeting new friends even if it's through the cyber world haha.

xoxo Moniczka

Always Maylee said...

Yay good for you! Keep on writing!

xo, Yi-chia
Always Maylee

Unknown said...

I'm not a blogger but I am a blog reader. I have a list of over 100 blogs that I have followed for several years. There are some I like more than others and some that have fallen by the wayside that I don't read anymore. There are a handful of blogs that I will stop whatever I'm doing to read when I see an update.

Yours is one of them.

I've been thinking about what makes these blogs more special to me than the others. And what it is that will make me stop reading a blog. So I think I might have some insight for you.

What makes a blogger a favorite?

- They get personal. This is one of the things that keeps me from blogging. I think revealing things about your personal life is a must for a good blogger. I wouldn't want the world to know the names of my family, where I live, where I work, etc. .. It would embarass me to no end if a stranger came up to me in public knowing my personal details from reading my blog. But..... these are the blogs I like to read. I like to get to know the person and feel like I could be their friend in real life. I like to know about their struggles and I keep checking in to see what happens next. I like knowing the names of their family members - real names - not Big K, Little K, Lil' Miss Diva. (That is so annoying.) Real bloggers generally don't follow the rules of the internet - keep everything private, don't use names, don't tell them where you are. They write like real authors would if telling their life story in a book. I think one of the reasons I started reading blogs is because it was like reading someone's diary or journal. I like to get to know a blogger.

- They post everyday. Or almost everyday. If a blogger doesn't post regularly, I will forget who they are. I will have to go to their "about me" page and search the archives for something familiar.

- They have a running storyline. Something to keep you coming back. This has a lot to do with getting personal on a blog. I want to know what is going to happen next. If the blogger is struggling with infertility I will be reading with bated breath to see if she ever gets pregnant. If she is pregnant I will check back every day until the baby is born. It's like being hooked on a TV show with cliffhangers.

-Beautiful pictures. Interesting pictures. Pictures that tell a story. One of my favorite blogs is Girls Gone Child. The author (Rebecca) is a professional blogger (she even has a topknot) and is very good at what she does. Her writing is emotional and her pictures tell a story. Rebecca's style of photography has really influenced the way I take my own pictures. She rarely takes a "look at the camera and say cheese" picture. Hers are always in action, how her children live and what they do. They are very romantic and whimiscal. She gets up close or stands way back to get the full landscape. I follow her instagram too. --

-Q & A - I like being able to ask questions and interact with a blogger.

-The blogger responds to comments. Commenters like comments just as much as bloggers do.

- Doesn't have too much extra junk. Honestly, I will skip over most sponsored posts. I will only read them if I know the blogger will have something meaningful to say within. I don't really understand blog hops. (I think most non-bloggers don't, either.) I skip those, too. I don't like guest posts. I don't know that writer. The occasional giveaway is okay.

Unknown said...

Continued (lol, I guess I got carried away.)

What will make me turn away from a blog?

- Boring, preachy, vague. If a blogger doesn't tell a compelling, personal story, offers too much advice on how to live a perfect life, or never gets to the point I will stop reading. I don't like it when a blogger vaguely mentions something going on in their life and then never says anything again. Why even bring it up in the first place?

- Recipes, patterns, how-to's, etc. All the time. Occasionally is fine, but if I wanted those things I would read a book on those topics.

-Fiction. If I wanted to read fiction I wouldn't be reading a blog. Usually, blogger fiction is exceptionally bad as well.

- Too busy, mentions quitting blogging repeatedly. Ah, the old "sorry I've been away for 4 months, but I've just been sooooooo BUSY!" blogger. Blogging is about the relationship between the reader and the writer. If you don't have time to maintain that, blogging isn't for you. And if a blogger likes to drop hints that they might just give the whole thing up , I won't waste my time and get invested in that blog.

- The perfect life. Perfect home, perfect husband, perfect kids. Always smiling and put together. And tells you how you can do it too. I like bloggers with flaws. People I can relate to.

- Gets involved in a MLM home business. This is the big one. I'm always sad when this happens to one of my favorite bloggers. They get a reader base and then think it would be a great idea to start selling Avon, Plexus, Scentsy, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Oragami Owl -whatever, to them. Pretty soon every post is about said products, testimonials and "50% off if you hurry and buy NOW!". No. That always spells the end for me.

I found your blog and loved it. I found it through a comment you left on another blog. I went back and read all of your old posts right away, which is something I rarely do. Your writing style is funny, you're different and Angel looks like such a fun goofy character. I wanted to get to know more about you guys. I can't wait to know more. I do think your blog would benefit from a better camera and more/different photography. (I know you're attached to your old camera.) You have been in several different parts of the world, have interesting style and a sense of humor. You have a lot to offer and I think you will do great.

Cramer Coffee and Jesus said...

haha. I l ove THIS! so many times people think they need to have the lifestyle of "starbucks and j.crew and fashion and blah blah blah" to be the hip blogger. no way jose! However, I can't believe you don't like coffee - perhaps we can find help for you. lol.

Suzzie Vehrs said...

do you have any favorite posts you'd like me to tweet? if love to share them.

Angi said...

I LOVE that you are different from the majority of the "big bloggers" and I would love to see you become super famous. I'm so sick of Starbucks and J. Crew and "twenty-somethings" and chevron EVERYTHING and "grab a glass of wine and stay awhile" I could vomit.

Angi said...

AND TARGET. Every time someone gushes about how they "didn't even mean to go IN there!" but just spent "an embarrassing amount of money" at Target, I want to stab my eyes out.

Jessi said...

I love your writing style and your personality! That's what makes me want to read. I think you should definitely go for it!
Changing my blog design and buying a better camera/learning a little about photography really helped my blog but yours is more focused on the writing so I can't say the same for you I guess. I agree with a lot of what Joann said. I like personality, storylines, regular posting and good photos.

Why Girls Are Weird said...

Personally I love your writing style. You have just enough flare to make your writing interesting without appearing to be trying to hard.

You ought to check out my friend Tina's blog: She's a wonderful writer and published her first novel awhile back. She'd probably have loads of advice for you!

deanna@delirious-rhapsody said...

i am not rachel (obviously.) but i really enjoyed reading your thorough :) comments. i am a blogger, and it's nice to read what appeals to certain people. i am glad you don't understand blog hops either. i can't stand them. who wants readers who are just there for more 'followers'? i don't care if i have 6 or 600 readers, just as long as they want to actually be there.

LB @ LB in Wonderland said...

Such a great post! And you go girl- you can totally do it!!! :)

Sarah Pete said...

I love your blog! I really get tired of blogs where everything is just PERFECT--perfect photos, perfect people, perfect business, house, the works. I love that yours is quirky and honest and down to earth. I know that when I'm reading your blog, I'm not reading an advertisement for yourself or a product. I don't mind blogs who post now and again on products (I mean, if you love it, talk about it, and, if you're making a living with it, I get it).
If you have a button, I'd love to post it on my blog--I don't have a huge readership, but I might draw a few new ones to yours :] I think your blog design is great, but, if you're ever looking for something different, I'd be willing to help you out, if you'd like. Not that I'd be able to make something as cool as the pros, but we might work out something fun for free :] BUT your current design is fun!
Best of luck in this endeavor!

Rachel said...

Joann--I think you just automatically won (in my mind) the unofficial award for best blog comment of all time! Thank you so much for your in-depth perspective, I think it's especially valuable to understand a little bit of what a non-blogger looks for in a blog. You've definitely given me some interesting things to think about--the camera and photography for one thing...I do like my camera because it was free, and free pretty much is the best version of anything in my book. But maybe at some point (for Christmas?) it'll make sense to invest in a better, more updated camera and learn how to use it.
What you said about a running storyline really makes me think. From my time studying writing, I definitely know the importance of an overarching storyline, but I never thought of that being applied to blogs. I will be thinking about whether my blog does have any continuing story to it or whether I need to work a little more purposefully to bring that out. And I will be doing some exploring on Rebecca's blog!
You've given me a lot to think about!

Anonymous said...

Keep being you. I would hate for you to turn into the stereotypical blogger. I'd be happy to promote your blog!

Heather @ From Here to There said...

I think it's wonderful that you're trying to expand your blog and improve it in order to be serious about your blogging and the content you put out there! You may be able to find a lot of the answers to your questions from my 'Blog Workshops' Tab! If you don't see something on there, let me know and I'll find a blog post that can help you with what you're trying to improve on or learn more about! I'll try to keep in mind when reading your blog posts to promote the ones that I thoroughly enjoyed reading by either mentioning it in a blog post or tweeting it out! And I use influenster to get product reviews and it's been successful for me!

Best of luck as you grow and expand on your blog to make it more of a career!

Leia said...

I definitely love your blog & "Rachelish" writing. I wish you the best of luck-- I think you can do it! (I wish I had some piece of helpful advice for you, but I'll send you the good vibes anyway!)

Elizabeth said...

Great post! I love your blog – even if I don’t always comment your blog is one I read whenever there is a new post. Your personality comes through in your writing and I love your sense of humor. I don’t really have any helpful advice for you since I’m still trying to figure things out myself as a blogger, but I’d be happy to get the word out about your blog!

Shaylynn... a girl, a story, a blog said...

It is crazy how much people can make off of their blogs. One of my best friends owns a big DIY blog, and the amount of money she makes from companies who just want mentioned.. It's crazy. I hear you though, I hate sponsored posts. It's exhausting, but there are ways to subtly throw sponsors in. But I love link-ups, I do. You find incredible blogs you otherwise never would have found otherwise.

I care about my blog, but not enough to grow it, I can't keep up with the inbox etc.. and so I'm content with my little old me. But girl, if it's what you want to do, and you have the writing skills for sure.. ROCK IT. I mean a year of blogging and more then a half a thousand followers? You've got this:)

Mandy@ a sorta fairytale said...

Hi Rachel!! I agree with the commenters above, I love that your blog is unique and different. Here's the thing about making money while blogging... you just need to find a balance between taking sponsored posts & becoming one big huge billboard. There are various networks you can sign up with to start working with brands: Clever Girls Collective, Pollinate, Sits Girls, BlogHer, Linqia...etc. Start there and see where it takes you! But obviously, the most important thing, is to stay true to yourself!

Rachel said...

People like you inspire me :) Just sayin'!
I love reading your blog because you write about the day-to-day things that happen in your life, and even if those things weren't really funny-ha-ha (e.g. your car breaking down), you turn them into occasions that I can giggle about and relate to! It makes me realise that our lives, no matter how crazy they may get, are really just one big story; it makes me realise that if I just laugh sometimes about the things that happen, life would be that much sweeter!!
So, thank you!!!!
I trust that whatever gradual changes you make will be uniquely you. I trust that any changes that come into being will be because YOU want them to be, not only because your readers have recommended things.
I'm excited for you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel,

This is a very inspiring blog post. I can completely relate to what you are saying and you have a unique way of going about it, speaking directly to your readers and asking for their help.
I think you have a fantastic style of writing, very fluid and easy to read, so I am sure if you set your mind to it your writing will not hold you back from achieving your goals.

As for your blog design, my only advice really is for it to be "tidied" a little with the help of a designer I don't think it'd be too tough as it's already got all the "basics" set in place. You are 100% on the right track, I just think if you want to make a career out this the layout should be a little more professional looking and responsive (e.g. fit to all size screens, etc.) I can help you with this if you are interested, drop me an email at And I hope you don't think I came here for self promotion! Just trying to help a fellow blogger.

Are you a member of The SITs Girls? The girls over there are an amazing source for all things blogging related from making money to getting published to getting a good designer, they have got you covered! They also help to expose member's content to their audience (which on Twitter alone is 25k+).

Basically, to sum it up - your writing is fantastic HOWEVER networking & design probably make up about 80% of your blog's readability. It's sad but true, there are many good writers out there but the one's who stand out are great at networking and/or having a unique or fluid design. So look at it this way, you have the actual talent part of it down - the rest is 100% achievable!

Kate @

Moonofsilver said...

Hey Rachel! I think you can do anything you put your mind to, with hard work and determination thrown in :) I will never stop reading.

Suzanne said...

What a fantastic detailed reply.


Suzanne said...

Right from the start your blog has always been about the writing. I'll admit I stumbled upon it via a blog hop for fashion, but the writing kept me coming back.

You are unique.

You are honest.

You aren't perfect.

All of those qualities makes you interesting.

You aren't promoting other companies all the time.

I'm here for the content.

As a graphic designer/artist yeah, probably your site could use some help. It has a slightly dated look.

But I don't come here for the design. I come here for you.

I love that you "put yourself out there" by asking this question in the first place. Bloggers are so vulnerable in the first place. You are brave enough to ask for help.


Elizabeth said...

I loved reading this post Rachel, I read you before you were cool ;) Haha. I'm a new blogger as well, and trying to figure it out just as you are, so I don't think I can offer much advice other than be confident in your writing. Which you clearly already are!

Mrs. M ~ a.k.a. ~ April said...

I know I haven't written in a bit but plan to get back to it sometime after this trip. I was just thinking of putting you in one of my writings but didn't know if you'd like that or not. Now I know I can. You are a great writer and I'd love to spotlight you :-)

Charlotte said...

I guess my only advice for you would be: don't be disappointed. Don't pin your hopes on becoming a well-known blogger. To me, there doesn't seem to be a formula; it only happens for a few people. If you start basing your blogging on amount of readers or comments, it isn't going to be fun anymore. Make your blog what YOU want it to be!

All that being said, good luck!

Inge Jane said...

I really like your blog, you are unique and your blog is unlike any others that I read. I think you definitely have something special going on here, and you should run with it. I don't know if there's anymore to be said after Joann B's awesome comments.

Anna said...

I love that your so passionate about blogging! That really makes my blog-spark burn a little brighter, reading that. :) I love that you're so honest and open on your blog, it makes it feel like I really get to know you AND the fact that you comment back to your readers is huge. Keep doing what you're doing, it's working!

Jillian said...

Dear heart,

I was sent here by your aunt-who-obviously-loves-you (Brandie). I am both a blogger and an author, and I think your aunt hoped I might be able to offer you some wisdom (oh, the pressure!).

First of all, I love your passion--both for writing and for life. You exude an exuberance that is truly delightful. The first thing I want to say is this: You are ALREADY A BLOGGER. You don't have to take the position that you WANT to be one. If you blog, you are a blogger. Whether or not you are making money at it is a separate issue.

Thing is, if you want to make money blogger, you can't just blog about every old thing--your life, yesterday's trip to the market, your new shoes. There are literally hundreds of thousands of blogs out there, and you will have to find your NICHE and write about it. You will need your own, unique twist, and you will need to BRAND yourself (because it's brand that sells, not blogging). This is actually more about internet marketing than about writing. Is that what you want? To be a successful internet marketer? Because it can be done.

An excellent example of a successful blogger is here: I read this gal's blog well before she had a book out. Her focus was being thankful every day and starting a 1000 gifts journal. She wrote about her children (she's a homeschooling mom) and life on a farm, but it was all in the context of being thankful every day. Her blog DEEPLY blessed me. I forgot about her for a while, then I heard she'd published a book. She found a niche, she wrote from her passion, and eventually it turned into a book deal (and she's still blogging). So, again, it can be done.

I'm not sure, though, that that's what I'm hearing your heart say. You wrote, "I desire to have a writing career." To me, that does not denote "blogging." A writing career usually means getting published. Short stories, novels, non-fiction--whatever your passion is. So I think you have to ask yourself what it REALLY IS that you want to write! (Because, oh, I see that writer's heart! I know it well!)

I self-published a non-fiction book in 2003. I called myself an "essayist" and believed (truly) that I could never write a novel. Then, one evening, I started to write one -- and it has become my lifeblood. I write science fiction and fantasy for children (mostly YA). It took me FIVE YEARS to get an agent (I decided to take the traditional route toward publishing), and he still hasn't been able to sell one of my novels. It's a tough, tough business. TOUGH. But it's one of those journeys that you just have to keep pressing through. I love my agent; I love writing; I couldn't imagine doing anything else. And my first short story will be published in an anthology a few days from now, so that's a happy milestone!

All that to say--search your heart and decide what it is you want to write. If you really do want to blog, then immerse yourself in internet marketing and learn the ropes. Decide on your niche and go for it.

If, however, you want to be a WRITER and not just a BLOGGER, then decide what you want to write, and immerse yourself in the writing community online (it's large and it's wonderful). It's impossible to write well in a vacuum.


I hope I've been at least somewhat helpful. Wishing you the very best!

Sarah E @ said...

Such good feedback!! This was great to read and I agree with so many of these as a blog reader myself.

Sarah E @ said...

Loved this post (and so glad you commented on my blog so I could "find" you)! I'm anxious to get caught up now. And it's ok to admit it...b/c I want to be a blogger too! :-)

Maria said...

I'd say you are already a BLOGGER! Looking forward to following you as your blog grows even more.
As for your questions, I have been wondering about the same things about my blog, trying to figure out what is valuable for readers and what is not. Feedbakc greatly appreciated:)
I love your funny and light style of writing, this is one thing I would come back for and it is different from other bloggers, we all need a place to find a release of stress.

Maria @